Government initiative needed to boost electric vehicle use

Canadians want electric vehicles but governments need to help support the market, according to a team of Simon Fraser University researchers. The team has found more than one third of Canadian buyers want an electric vehicle—particularly a plug-in hybrid like the Chevrolet Volt. However, less than one per cent of vehicle sales in Canada are electric because of low consumer awareness and limited vehicle choice. The researchers hope that policymakers and politicians will take note of their two recent studies, as discussions on climate change ramp up locally and globally.

The Sustainable Transportation Research Team, led by Professor Jonn Axsen and adjunct professor Suzanne Goldberg in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM), has authored Electrifying Vehicles: Insights from the Canadian Plug-in Electric Vehicle Study and Preference and lifestyle heterogeneity among potential plug-in electric vehicle buyers. Both reports are now available on the studies' webpage. The latter report was published in Energy Economics.

"Electric vehicles are not likely to make up more than one percent of vehicle sales in the next decade and no more than four or five per cent by 2030," says Axsen. But, adds Goldberg, "There is hope could grow to more than 20 per cent of vehicle sales by 2030 with policies that increase these vehicles' availability and variety, such as California's Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate."

The studies found that awareness of electric vehicles is low—two-thirds of consumers are not familiar with those currently on the market. Also, supply is limited with about 10 models available in Canada at select dealerships.

The researchers say electric vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in B.C. Almost a third of the province's come from transportation. Electric vehicles produce 80 to 90 per cent less than gasoline vehicles.

Explore further

Home-based, rather than public, chargers are key to increasing electric vehicles' popularity

Citation: Government initiative needed to boost electric vehicle use (2015, July 16) retrieved 21 August 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jul 16, 2015
It can take years to replace the fossil fuel hogs and put in place a more intelligent infrastructure for cleaner transportation. We are already doing it, to the dismay of the deniers, and have to keep it up, accelerating the progress as fast as practical.

Having about 150 years of ICE refinement, it can take a decade or so to replace it, . . but it is happening.

Jul 16, 2015
Electric cars could be wonderful and for me the perfect choice, but can I find any near me? I would have to travel over 50 miles to see one model, if you don't have any in stock you can't sell any, I'm sure there is no coercion going on and nobody purposely limiting supplies so the trend dies.

Jul 16, 2015
Gimp, the trend is still beginning to start. It takes a long time for the drastic changes the technology favors or requires.

Jul 19, 2015
As long as dealers are anti-EV, we're fighting an uphill battle; the trick is to get the dealers on the EV bandwagon and get them to want to sell EVs.

That can be easily accomplished by offering the dealer a significant tax credit on sales of EVs. Once dealers start advertising and pushing EV sales, the public will become educated.

As a collateral benefit, shifting the tax credit from buyer to seller can also replace the current incentives that benefit high income buyers and discourage low income customers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more